GameMaker has announced that from now on, it’ll be available for free on a non-commercial basis, although there are one or two caveats.
In a post announcing this change, GameMaker says that if you’re making a game outside of consoles, you want to use GameMaker, and you’re not making the game for commercial purposes, you’ll be able to do so without paying a penny.
If you are making a commercial game, however, GameMaker is replacing its Creator and Indie subscription models with a one-off license fee of $99.99.
If you’re making a game on a commercial basis for consoles, then you’ll still need to pay the Enterprise subscription, as laid out in the accompanying FAQ.
GameMaker also says that if you’re already paying for a subscription, it won’t be renewed at the end of your term, and if you want to buy a Professional license after that, you’ll get a discount based on how much you’ve paid for your subscription.
The example given is paying for a 5-month Creator subscription, which would cost $24.95.
That amount is then rounded up to the nearest 5%, which would be 25% of a Professional license. You’d then get 25% off the fee for said license.
As well as the software itself, GameMaker says all of its asset bundles will now also be free for everyone, so you can get started making your first game more easily.
According to GameMaker, these changes are being made in order to do “something…actually good for developers”.
In what appears to be a swipe at fellow game creation platform Unity and its recent controversies, GameMaker says it’s “seen other platforms making awkward moves with their pricing and terms”.
The shift to a free model is an attempt to “[make] game development more accessible and flexible”, with a view to helping first-time game makers create their first games.
Plenty of commercial projects have been made in GameMaker, too, including the delightful Chicory: A Colorful Tale, the trippy Katana Zero, and, of course, indie masterpiece Undertale.